6th thread: An epidemic, war, a bracelet.
She tied it around my wrist, muttering a prayer under her breath to avoid calling the attention of demons. Then she said:
“Look, don’t play with it. Your ancestress each spun one thread, one hair from their head is woven into it. You will not be sick.”
All the other children caught smallpox, except for me. Some died, those who survived had holes in the skin as big as navels. When my mother died from the pox, my first baby teeth had just fallen out. I envied the other children, with their nasty scars, they had kept their mother. I wish my mother had kept the bracelet.
And then we had war, or maybe it was at the same time, I’m not sure. One day the soldiers arrived all dressed in metal. We didn’t know they were coming. They spoke a strange language we could not understand, and they had terrifying weapons. They were not like our men, they were stronger and followed no rules. My brothers had left to take refuge in the mountains with the other young men of the village, but my father was killed by the soldiers, because he was not old enough. So was my sweet uncle, and the neighbor’s son who was my age. They put a sword through my father and my uncle, but they garroted the young boy like a pig.
The daily life we had always known was ripped to pieces. The insides of people that are usually hidden by their skin were spilled out. Blood flowed, houses burned, fields were trampled. Human bones and skulls and teeth were strewn on the road, instead of goats’. I would have given anything to get back the world of my childhood, that kings in their distant cities had thrown upside down. Then the war left as it had come, we didn’t know why. At your age, I had neither mother nor father nor brothers as they never returned.
Your father is looking for a husband for you. Hopefully he will be kind and experienced, and will not beat you often. If he does not take you too far away, I can visit you, and comfort you in your sufferings.Before you are ripped away from me, I will divide the bracelet. One half, I will tie around your wrist, the other half will protect your sister.
See how this thread in the bracelet is loose, probably woven by a lazy young woman, long dead now. The wool that you are spinning now is fine and even. We will take a thread and we will add it with one of your hair which should not be cut, but ripped hard from your head. A little of our blood, a little of our work gets trapped in the bracelet to insure our lineage survive. You will protect your children with your care, and when you are no longer of this world, when your body has long decayed in the ground, when your skull and your bones have turned to powder, your work will continue to watch over your offspring, girl after girl after girl after girl, farther than you and I can look, beyond kingdoms and poems.